Last week, our country entered an unprecedented phase as we hunkered down to halt the spread of a global pandemic called Coronavirus. Canceled events, conferences, and gatherings; shuttered schools and churches; closed businesses and restaurants, measures taken to implement social distancing and lessen the spread of the virus. Along with these efforts, other reactions came to light: panic, fear, hoarding, price gouging, and a plummeting stock market.
Following are five ways people are reacting to the threat of Coronavirus:
While Coronavirus is not to be taken lightly, and those who are immune compromised should take extra precautions, not everyone who gets Coronavirus dies from it. Coronavirus is not a death sentence, yet panic seems to have overtaken many.
A few days ago, I saw a man in Target wearing waders, rubber gloves up to his elbows, and a respirator that looked like WWI-era gas mask. Granted, he may have had underlying health issues, but the look in his eyes as he moved to the other side of the aisle to avoid me, spoke panic.
Worst-case scenarios doomsayers are using many platforms to speak their negative predictions and increase the level of panic, thus propelling people into hoarding and other forms of over-reaction.
As concern for spread of the virus ramped up, the greedy make-a bucksters showed up in full force. Quietly and systematically the greedy began buying large quantities of disinfectants, hand sanitizers, toilet paper, masks, and respirators, often traveling to other states to make multiple purchases. Then, within days, these products began appearing on online buying sites for exorbitant prices. I saw a 12-roll pack of toilet paper listed for $60.00!
There always have been, and always will be, people who take advantage of others, especially in crisis situations.
A quick scan of social media reveals angry posts about shortages, closed schools, inconveniences, and overblown predictions of the spread of the virus. But beyond angry words, lurks fear. For many, anger is the first response to fear.
Within the first few sentences of his inaugural address in 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke these words that continue to ring true, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror, which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
The context for Roosevelt’s words centered on the crippling years of economic depression in America and his pledge to move forward with changes that would pull people from despair to hope.
Those who allow fear full rein often find themselves paralyzed. As someone stated last week, “fear keeps me from being able to think.”
Fear ties us up in knots and impedes forward motion. During these days of uncertainty, fear is our worst enemy.
Life is unpredictable, but you don’t have to allow fear to control you, make you its slave, or keep you in a constant state of panic. Trust is the antidote to fear and panic.
In this age of unparalleled divisiveness in our country, the threat of widespread illness gives us an opportunity to pull together and show care and concern for each other, rather than tearing each other down. Now is also a good time to acknowledge God as creator and sustainer of life. He is available to help you, to calm fears, and infuse you with peace.
A dear cousin’s husband died several days ago. The day before, his family had spent a wonderful day together. And then, suddenly, in the wee hours of the morning, he breathed his last breath. At that moment, Coronavirus took a back seat to the reality that life is short and can end at any moment, virus or not.
This sudden death is a reminder to love each other, put aside petty differences, live life fully, and trust God for today and tomorrow. Don’t put off telling people that you love and appreciate them, and don’t allow fear to cause you to lose focus on what God has called you to do.
In these days of upheaval, we have an Anchor who holds us firmly against the storms of life.
“The Lord will answer you in times of trouble. The name of the God of Jacob will protect you. He will send you help from his holy place and support you from Zion. Some rely on chariots and others on horses, but we will boast in name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 20: 1-2, 7 GW
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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